Spring and Water Source Assessment in Selected Local Governments across Watersheds of Karnali River Basin


The consortium led by ISET Nepal, with Kathmandu University’s Aquatic Ecology Centre (AEC), and Hydro Lab Pvt. Ltd. in collaboration with two local organizations and financial support from the USAID Karnali Water Activity, undertook a project titled “Spring and Water Source Assessment (SSA) in selected Local Governments (LGs) across Watersheds of Karnali River Basin.” The project assessed the spring water sources of 29 Local Governments (LGs) from the Karnali Basin’s four watersheds: Rara Khatyad, Tila Karnali, Middle Karnali, and Lower Karnali. Local enumerators from these watersheds were trained and mobilized for the SSA. The trained local enumerators conducted community-level consultations, visited each spring, gathered data (e.g., GPS, discharge, stressors identification, and ranking) at the field level, and collected spring data and water samples for laboratory analysis. Ten stressors (e.g., waste dumping, livestock grazing, sewage mixing, etc.) were scored to categorize the springs into three classes: good condition, moderately affected, and severely affected.

Watershed District Local Government (LGs)

Municipality (M.)/Rural Municipality (R.M.)

Rara Khatyad Mugu Chhayanath Rara M., Khatyad R.M., Soru R.M.,
Tila Karnali Kalikot


Khadachakra M., Mahabai R.M., Shubhakalika R.M., Tilagufa M.

Tila R.M.

Middle Karnali Achham





Turmakhand R.M., Kamalbazar M., Panchadewal Binayak M., Ramaroshan R.M.

Naraharinath R.M.

Aathabis M., Bhairabi R.M., Chamunda bindrasaini M., Dullu M., Thatikandh R.M.

Lower Karnali Surkhet



Barahatal R.M., Chaukune R.M., Panchapuri M.

Janaki R.M., Lamkichuwa M., Mohanyal R.M., Tikapur M.

Geruwa R.M., Madhuwan M., Rajapur M., Thakurbaba M.

Map showing the location of four watersheds (Rara Khatyad, Tila Karnali, Middle Karnali and Lower Karnali) in the Karnali River Basin

Laboratory Test/Mini-lab set up

Water quality assessments were conducted on three levels: on-site, in field-mobile mini laboratories, and at the Dhulikhel AEC laboratory. In total, 32 field-mobile mini laboratories were set up across the four watersheds to assess water quality parameters. AEC, KU laboratory technicians, performed laboratory analysis to determine physicochemical and microbiological parameters. Altogether 17 water quality parameters were evaluated, including physicochemical, microbiological, and heavy metals. Among those parameters, pH and temperature were measured on-site and in field-mobile mini laboratories.


Altogether, 6646 spring sources were identified, of which 89 had dried. A detailed hydrogeological investigation is required to determine the causes of drying. The results showed that 17.39% of the sources were in good condition, 79.66% were moderately affected, and 2.95% were severely affected. Similarly, based on the Water Quality Index, 85.16%, 13.89%, 0.61%, 0.14%, and 0.198% of sources were categorized as excellent, good, poor, very poor, and unsuitable categories, respectively. Based on the microbial analysis, 84.66 %, 10.05%, 5.07%, and 0.21% of sources were categorized as safe, intermediate risk, high risk, and very high risk, respectively. The recommended measures to improve the sources’ status and water quality have also been provided. Monitoring mechanisms and conservation efforts at the LG level would help to improve and maintain these sources’ conditions and water quality. The study adopted the following process:

Photographs: Spring sources of Naraharinath Municipality in Karnali River Basin used for drinking and irrigation purposes